Closely related to the planning of a conference (see blog from April 19th) is the planning of a Fundraising Event. Many of the same questions and answers go into the planning of this kind of event with the addition of: “Who can we invite who would love to know about the CHW field in Minnesota and will go away saying “I’m so glad to know that I can contribute (time, money, knowledge, other resources) to this organization that is doing so much to advance this field of work!”?” Unfortunately, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we have not been able to have a fundraiser for the MN CHW Alliance since 2019. This is a project that we need to revive as soon as we are able!
One more committee that I have had the honor of working on is the Education Committee. As you read in the blog post from March 2, 2021, this committee has been hard at work updating the statewide curriculum. Again, I have learned so much by working with this wonderful group of educators.
While I have benefited and grown by my work on these committees, I know that each committee has also appreciated hearing from my perspective as an active CHW. I would strongly encourage every CHW to ask yourself where you can plugin and throw your voice into the conversation. It may begin with a simple conversation with one committee member or being part of a meeting with many committee members. It may be once a week, once a month, or once a year. Everyone’s voice counts! If you hear or read about a project that sounds enticing please, step up to the opportunity and see the impact it has on you as well as the impact you can have on our field.
-Kimberli Barker, CHW
This is the end of our series about opportunities in the Alliance. If you are interested in getting more involved please reach out!
The Minnesota Community Health Worker Alliance is committed to equity across all aspects of society. While the primary focus of our work is to ensure health equity for all we believe to realize this goal it is imperative that issues of racial justice be addressed.
The past year has been full of tension. Many anxiously awaited the outcome of the trial for the officer who murdered George Floyd in May of 2020. As the monumental guilty verdict was read, we along with so many others, were filled with hope that this verdict signaled the beginning of holding officers and others in positions of authority, accountable. An important chapter has been written for racial justice across Minnesota, but the story cannot end here. We acknowledge the pain and suffering experienced by those in our organization, especially the Community Health Workers (CHWs) that represent populations of color and we are committed to being strong allies. The Alliance pledges to pursue justice and dynamic growth for populations harmed by police brutality as well as other racist and unjust systems.
The Alliance remains relentlessly dedicated to pursuing racial justice, equity, and inclusion, and we stand ready to support the leaders and organizations in our community that are committed to those advancing these goals.
From ‘What is the CHW Alliance,’ to actively asserting my voice in CHW Alliance meetings
Upon graduating with a Masters in Global Public Health from the University of St. Catherine I was contacted by a mentor, Anne Ganey.
Anne Ganey, MPH is a healthcare consultant who works with the Minnesota CHW Alliance. I knew Anne previously when I applied for the CHW leadership program a few years ago now.
At that time I was new to the CHW field and did not know many CHWs, had never heard of the CHW Alliance, and did not yet grasp the impact community health workers made in closing healthcare disparities.
I found out about the CHW leadership program through a previous CHW Supervisor who encouraged me to apply. The CHW leadership program was a pivotal experience for me because it helped me build my confidence as a CHW and a leader, it taught me the importance of networking and building community with other CHWs and allies of the field, and I learned about how CHWs can get more involved with advocacy and policy. I made many great connections during my time in the program and kept in touch with Anne who is one of the facilitators of the Leadership Program.
It was through this past connection to Anne Ganey and the Alliance that I ultimately wound up being tapped on the shoulder for a contract position with the Alliance. The Alliance needed someone to assist with the initial phase of communication and marketing of the CHW Registry. I accepted the temporary position because of how important I felt the work was. The CHW workforce in Minnesota still felt constrained by many of the issues that I’d first noticed when I started over 5 years ago: CHWs were mostly unrecognized, discounted, and siloed from one another. The CHW Registry which launched last November is a voluntary listing of CHWs working across the state of MN; not only will the registry serve to show officials, CHW employers, and organizations the make-up of the CHW workforce, it serves as a platform for CHWs and CHW supervisors to connect to one another, share resources, job postings, and upcoming trainings.
My contract position ended at the end of last year but I still maintain a connection to The Alliance by attending online meetings regularly. The two meetings that I am a part of are the Registry committee and the Legislative Action Committee. Both of which I feel could use more CHW voices. The Alliance is meant to bolster the CHW workforce and it will take many more CHWs and allies of the field for us to see greater recognition, employment, and advancement of CHWs in the social services and healthcare systems. I am optimistic that we are headed in the right direction and staying connected to what is going on with CHW advocacy and in the community has been a big part of that belief.
-Shandy Potes Mangra
Join the CHW Learning Circle Meeting Wednesday, May 5th at 3:00 PM to discuss Post-Covid Preparation for CHWs.
Join Zoom Meeting https://zoom.us/j/98217639355?pwd=d3E2azRYdkpVaS9ua05GUzE4R0Vhdz09
All CHW and like positions are welcome to join!